About operaramblings

Toronto based lover of opera, art song and related music

Back to the Future

Do you remember back when real live musicians used to perform for a real live audience?  Well some mad dudes are trying to revive it.  Tapestry Opera have some shows in conjunction with Canadian Stage coming up in High Park.  July 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th you can catch the show “Box Concerts” that Tapestry have been taking around health care facilities and offering for private booking.  It’s PWYC.  Booking is via Canadian Stage.  Also on the 17th at 3pm there’s an extended program including excerpts from Rocking Horse Winner where Asitha Tennekoon will be joined by Midori Marsh and Lucia Cesaroni.  That’s $50 booked at the same page.

Asitha Tennekoon performing in Tapestry Opera's Box Concerts. Photo by Dahlia Katz (1)

Photo credit: Dahlia Katz

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Psychological Elektra

Strauss’ Elektra, for all its “grand” music, is essentially a rather intimate psychological study of the psyches and relationships of three women.  Given this, one might think that the enormous stage of the Felsenreitschule in Salzburg a very odd choice of venue.  Krzysztof Warlikowski’s approach to the challenge is bold but almost impossible to do justice to on video.  Despite that, what does come across on video is a rather compelling version of the work.

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TOT’s streamed The Csardas Princess

lmargisonToronto Operetta Theatre are offering a streamed performance of Emmerich Kálmán’s The Csardas Princess.  It’s another film made in the Edward Jackman Studio and with TOT’s usual team in charge.  The cast includes Lauren Margison in the title role with Michael Barrett as Prince Edwin.  The cast also includes TOT regulars Caitlin Wood as Countess Stasi, Ryan Downey as Boni and Gregory Finney as Feri, Rosalind McArthur and Sean Curran appear as Edwin’s  parents Anhilte and Leopold Maria.

The stream will be available from July 9th to 23rd and an access code is $20 plus fees and can be purchased here.

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Vespers for a New Dark Age

vespers_sFeel like listening to something different?  Then I can recommend Missy Mazzoli’s 2014 genre defying Vespers for a New Dark Age.  Conceptually it reimagines the traditional vespers prayer service with its, perhaps, archaic formality to explore he way we confront technology, ghosts, death, doubt and God in our “new dark age”.

Structurally there are eight movements run together which set fragments of poems by Matthew Zapruder.  The setting uses vocals, amplified strings, winds, organs, synthesizers and lots of electronics to create a weird and disturbing soundscape of many moods though the overall tone is very dark.

The performance is created by Mazzoli’s ensemble Victoire, Glenn Kotche (of Wilco) and vocalists Mellissa Hughes, Martha Cluver and Virginia Warnken (of Roomful of Teeth).  Electronic production is by synth producer Lorna Dune, who plays a crucial role, and is also responsible for the bonus track; an electronic remix of Mazzoli’s A Thousand Tongues.

The only criticism I have of the disk is that I couldn’t find the texts anywhere.  Sometimes they are clear enough on the recording, sometimes not so much.

Adriana Lecouvreur upcoming

225px-Adrienne_LecouvreurVOICEBOX:Opera in Concert have a streamed version of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur premiering on Friday.  It’s a film made at the Edward Jackman Centre that reimagines the opera as a game of chess.  Natalya Gennadi sings the title role with Julie Nesrallah as the Princess de Bouillon.  The cast also includes Holly Chaplin and Evan Korbut.  Tickets are $20 from www.operainconcert.com and the stream will be available until July 2nd.

Toronto Summer Music

tsmf2021It’s almost time for the Toronto Summer Music Festival 2021.  This year it runs July 15th to August 1st.  The bad news is that, like last year, it’s virtual.  The good news is that it’s all free and, as always, there’s some excellent stuff.  The full line up and details of how to access the streams are here.

The highlight for me will be Adrianne Pieczonka and Steven Philcox in a recital featuring Purcell’s “Music for a While”, selected lieder by Clara Schumann, a selection of melodies by Fauré, “Hermit Songs” by Samuel Barber, and selections of works by George Gershwin.  That’s on Tuesday, July 20th at 7:30 pm.

So far no word on the line up for the Regeneration concerts but I guess I won’t miss spending three summer Saturdays alternating between a freezing Walter Hall and a scorching Philosopher’s Walk.  It will feel quite civilised to dip into the Regen stuff as and when.

All the news that fits…

orvaxThere’s less being produced right now in the way of on-line content but here are a few titbits:

  • Opera Revue has a new and very silly vaccine related number on Youtube.
  • Sara Schabas has a recital recorded in the Spiegelsaal at the Opernhaus Zürich premiering on Sunday.  This one is ticketed ($10 in aid of Highlands Opera Studio).  Tickets here.
  • Kathy Domoney has a new series of Opera Breaks coming up.  You can check out previous Opera Breaks here, which is also where the new stuff will eventually appear.  The schedule is:
    • June 12th – “Dite alla giovine”, La Traviata ( Verdi) duet – Natalya Gennadi, soprano & Dion Mazerolle, baritone
    • June 26th – “ Green Finch and Linnet Bird”, Sweeney Todd ( Sondheim) – Caitlin Wood, soprano
    • July 10th – “Crudel! perché finora”, Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) duet – Caitlin Wood, soprano & Clarence Frazer, baritone
    • July 26th – “ Vilia” , The Merry Widow ( Léhar) – Natalya Gennadi, soprano

There’s also been a sorta, kinda “season announcement” from the COC.  You can find it and Perryn Leach’s take on it on the COC Youtube channel.  Basically there’s going to be free, live streamed content from the Four Seasons Centre in the fall using the kit I talked about in discussing the COC/NBC’s digital strategy back when.  What it is, whether there will be any kind of in-house audience and what happens after Christmas we have to wait until August to find out.